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Peace on borders important for progress in ties: PM
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BEIJING, Oct 22 (Agencies): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that commitment by Indian and Chinese leaderships to maintain peace and tranquillity at borders pending boundary settlement is an important guarantor for further progress in Sino-Indian ties, particularly growth of 2.5 billion people.

"Boundary Question between India and China is complex and sensitive. We have established the Special Representatives (SRs) mechanism to find a political solution," Singh said in written interview to China's official media ahead of his three-day visit starting today.

The SRs have "worked hard and arrived at the political parameters and guiding principles for a boundary resolution," he said, answering a question on the work done by SRs so far.

"In the present stage of their negotiations, they are seeking a framework for a boundary resolution. I support the work done by the Special Representatives of the two sides. This is not an easy issue and will take time to resolve".

"In the meantime, both the Governments of India and China are committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas," he said.

"This is an important guarantor and a fundamental basis for further progress and growth in our bilateral ties. The leadership of the two countries is united on this issue," he said emphasising the need to maintain peace at the borders.

"We have also managed our differences and have kept our border region tranquil. At the same time, we have not allowed our differences to come in the way of expanding our cooperation in diverse areas. Stability and predictability in our relations has proved invaluable as both India and China address their internal priorities, particularly growth and development of 2.5 billion people," he said.

Among the pacts expected to be signed during Singh's visit here is the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), the draft of which was cleared by the Indian cabinet.

It is perceived as a major confidence-building measure by both countries, which had to grapple this year with a series of Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that triggered serious tensions.

"As long as we follow the principles and procedures set out in the Agreements of 1993, 1996 and 2005, expand and improve upon them where necessary to take into account the changing reality of India and China and enhance dialogue and friendly exchanges between our border troops, I am confident that the strategic consensus between leaders will continue to be reflected on the ground," he said.

Replying to a question on the enormous development of India-China ties in the last ten years and what message he would give to China's new leadership, Singh said: "during the past 9 years that I have been Prime Minister, I have attempted to put India-China relations on a stable growth path".

"Working together with the Chinese leadership, my attempt has been to create a forward looking agenda for our bilateral relations. There has been tremendous increase in our economic exchanges as both India and China themselves have grown and prospered," he said.

"My last visit to China five years ago came before the onset of the financial crisis and the global economic meltdown. Today, despite the fragile global economic situation, India and China continue to grow, albeit slowly," he said.

"China also has a new Government in place now. I have already had useful meetings with President Xi (Jinping) and Premier Li earlier this year. I hope to utilise my visit to get to know the new leadership better and to work with them to consolidate the all round progress in bilateral relations and put them on a firm trajectory of sustained growth," he added.

News Updated at : Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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